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Monday, July 22, 2013 by Emma Gilchrist

The woman behind the Burns Lake billboard

The woman behind the Burns Lake billboard

The billboard in Burns Lake, which has been subject to two confidential complaints of it being "offensive."

When Gwyndolyn Nicholas replaced a billboard on the side of her Burns Lake health foods store with a new one earlier this month, she never imagined the fuss it would cause.

While the old billboard advertised biscotti and sandwiches, the new one showed an idyllic mountain landscape with the words: “Pure water. Wild salmon. No Enbridge pipeline.”

As it turns out, the new sign generated two confidential complaints in the village of 2,000 people — a community located along the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline route.

Three days after the sign went up, Nicholas received a bylaw infraction letter.

In a media release, the Village of Burns Lake says compliance involves two things: first, a sign permit application must be received by the village office. (Despite the fact the sign is the same dimensions as the previous sign and Nicholas has never been asked for a permit previously.)

Second, because the complaint termed the sign as “offensive,” the property owner must submit a letter of appeal to the Village council, stating the case for why the sign should stand, even if some residents may find it offensive.

“I was very surprised by the term ‘offensive,’ ” Nicholas says. “It summarizes everything that has great value to me.”

Inspiration for the billboard came from a similar one seen on the drive into Smithers. “When I saw it, I thought: ‘That is it, that’s what we’re fighting for,’ ” she says.

When a picture of the billboard was posted to Dogwood Initiative’s Facebook page, it went viral (chalking up 122,000 views in just a few days) and stoked media interest in the story. Commenters were outraged the simple billboard could be deemed “offensive" — meanwhile Enbridge has carried out a multi-million dollar advertising campaign across the province.

Unfortunately, the outrage over the bylaw notice spawned a handful of inappropriate messages directed toward Village staff. Nicholas wants to make clear the Village is not at fault and no decision has yet been made on the fate of the billboard. A media release from the Village says: “The Village office has already received numerous communications on the matter to make a strong case.”

A mother of two and owner of Gwyn’s Greengrocer, Nicholas grew up in Burns Lake, went away to school to earn her Bachelor of Nursing and then returned to the community. “I love this country. It’s a beautiful landscape,” she says.

Enbridge’s proposed pipeline brings the risk of an oil spill to her community.  “It is relevant to me as a business owner in my community,” Nicholas says. “It’s not like I’m trying to be controversial. I’m looking for open dialogue, for respectful dialogue, and I want my voice to be heard and I think we have that democratic right.”

The issue will be brought before Burns Lake council at their regular meeting on Aug. 20, 2013. At that time, the council will decide whether the sign is a contravention of the bylaw.

Some reports have stated that Dogwood Initiative erroneously claimed the business owner had been “ordered to remove the sign”  — that's inaccurate. Our Facebook post stated she'd received a bylaw notice to take it down, but was appealing the notice.We included the words "to take it down" because that is ultimately what the bylaw notice was about — we should have been clearer that this wasn't an immediate order. We'd also like to clarify we never advised people to contact the Village of Burns Lake. We are saddened and disappointed to hear Village staff received inappropriate comments on this issue.

 

Anonymous says:
Jul 22, 2013 04:40 PM

And, what is so offensive about wanting clean water and wild salmon? The two people who complained should be ashamed of themselves

Paul-André Larose, Ph.D. says:
Jul 29, 2013 06:29 PM

I am afraid that anybody who finds this offensive does not have the basic moral fabric to even feel "ashamed".

Furthermore, if the nightmare of a pipeline ever happens to materialize, will it then be "offensive" to say: "We had Clean Water and Wild Salmon - Now we have a pipeline" when the unavoidable spills later occur?

Anonymous says:
Jul 29, 2013 07:37 PM

I don't think it was the clean water that they complained about but the fact that the oil sands if mined correctly, eventually leave very little of a footprint. Also, most oil sands are not mineable and thus must be extracted which requires water, of which 80 % of it is able to be reused...

Trish says:
Jul 30, 2013 04:34 PM

How can you say oil sands mining eventually leaves no footprint. They cut down entire forests for this. Not to mention the carbon footprint. Studies have shown it takes more energy to mine the stuff than is supplied by it. No gain in energy. You sound like a company spokesperson. Are you?

Anonymous says:
Aug 14, 2013 10:35 AM

The main footprint an oilsands operation leaves is one in the bank accounts of foriegn corporations.

cheryl says:
Aug 01, 2013 08:10 AM

It,s unfortunate, that some people write inaccurate comments and dont really spend time to research the issue properly. The tar sands that are being mined, and the expansion of them leaves a dramatic footprint; air, water, ecological, land base. There is far too much detail of the effects of the tar sands to detail each effect. Also, the water may be reused for a time, but eventually, must be classed toxic. The water used, will never be put back to where it came. In addition, the volume needed, is astronomical! Beyond that, there is the future certantiy of a spill during transport, adding to the ecological footprint.

Barbara Watson says:
Aug 02, 2013 06:53 AM

Enbridge employee, perhaps? Why anonymous if you really believe what you say. Take note of the word "eventually". Once all of the salmon,all of the bears,all of the eagles and all of the people are gone, the world will eventually restore itself and there will be no footprints.

Laura says:
Jul 30, 2013 04:57 AM

Thanks to this lady's brilliant move, and those that complained about her billboard sign, she has raised more awareness of the Enbridge mess!

Michael Young says:
Jul 31, 2013 08:52 PM

I used to live in Terrace, BC and I agree the land is beautiful and should not be destroyed by Enbridge or anyone else. the two people who complained are probably Enbridge employees or are in cahoot's with Enbridge so city counsel should take that into consideration when they vote on allowing the sign to stay put!

Jeff Beck says:
Jul 22, 2013 09:14 PM

Pretty disheartening how Enbridge can continue to spill oil seemingly day after day.They post false maps of their proposed tanker route,multimillion dollar adds on tv spouting more lies of the benefits of their pipeline and 1 women isn't allowed to show how she feels about the pipeline and the environment.

C J Bacon says:
Jul 29, 2013 05:14 PM

Welcome to the "land of the free" and "home of the brave." When people and resources are seen as nothing more than commodities to be "brokered" to the highest bidder in a quest to obtain, control, manipulate and maintain POWER, then we need to realize with EYES WIDE OPEN that this is MEANT TO UNDERMINE OUR SO CALLED "DEMOCRACY." From where I sit and all we have witnessed from ALL SIDES OF "GOVERMENT" (especially from the FEDERAL level), Webster's should be submitted to change the spelling of and definition of "DEMOCRACY" to "DEMOCRISY" to demonstrate what it has TRULY been transformed into - DEMOnstrated hypoCRISY. Pay attention to the CHARBONEAU COMMISSION and the FACTS about EXACTLY HOW "BUSINESS" WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE "PUBLIC TRUST" IS CONDUCTED FROM COAST TO COAST TO COAST. Actions speak louder than words and just like this store owner we need to "turn up the volume" and DEMAND the return to TRUE DEMOCRACY and truer EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW. After all, isn't that what the Westminster democratic principle is SUPPOSED to be based on??
Personally I find the conduct and apparent tolerance of this continued "democratic" CHARADE as the MOST OFFENSIVE to any SENSIBILITY. But then this is only my opinion or does anyone else agree??

Roland, the Giant says:
Jul 30, 2013 12:25 PM

I agree

Barbara Belyea says:
Jul 31, 2013 11:57 AM

Causes are always better served if statements supporting them are made quietly and calmly.

Jeff says:
Aug 14, 2013 10:38 AM

I agree

KathyS says:
Aug 20, 2013 05:08 PM

Well said!

Edie Cartwright says:
Jul 30, 2013 08:31 AM

@Jeff You are so right about that. We've been inundated with a bunch of media ads telling us how good the pipeline will be for us and a lot of people are offended by those ads. Is Enbridge made to take down their ads? No, the ads just go on and on.
So let Gwyn put up her response to the inundation we get from Enbridge. It's a free country, isn't it?

Melanie Gauthier says:
Jul 22, 2013 10:08 PM

Hum...definition of offensive:''Causing someone to feel deeply hurt, upset, or angry''. Whoever feels deeply hurt, upset and angry about protecting BC waters and wild salmon against an Enbridge pipeline - let's remember that Enbridge is the Oil company with a grim history of oil spills - I'm sorry, but I have absolutely no compassion for you! Albertan pipelines have had 60 119 leaks in the past 37 years. That's an average of 1 625 leaks per year. That is OFFENSIVE. It makes me feel VERY hurt, upset and angry.

Heide Monteith says:
Jul 23, 2013 08:06 AM

I love the sign, appreciate seeing it when I walk by. It must have been a great cost to Ms. Nicholas and I hope it can remain.

Aaron Ekman says:
Jul 23, 2013 09:36 AM

Hope the Village Council doesn't ultimately engage in this kind of political censorship. It's a slippery slope. What's next? shall every one of Enbridge's ads be yanked because someone complains about them?

Earl Richards says:
Jul 30, 2013 02:14 AM

The Village Council is taking bribes from Enbridge, or else the Village Council is on Enbridge's payroll.

ROXI says:
Jul 29, 2013 09:08 AM

IF THEY MAKE HER TAKE IT DOWN MAYBE SHE CAN HANG IT ON THE INSIDE OF HER STORE AS ART

Cindi says:
Jul 29, 2013 04:40 PM

This is more of the "little guy/girl" being beaten up for expressing an opinion. It seems such a shame that to our governments, and the corporations who own them, continue to run roughshod over our Great Mother Earth.......she who sustains us, feeds us, waters us, shelters us. When one knows of the many MANY people, inventors etc whom have introduced (or wanted to introduce) a multitude of alternatives to the overuse of oil ie FREE energy.....YES, it does exist and always has...just been shutup, shotup, and shutdown by murderous, slanderous, greedy corporations. Everyone really needs to watch the movie "The World is Waking Up" (find it via www.thrivemovement.com/the movie). It truly is time for all humans to WAKE UP..........but especially for the "dark elite" to wake up and hear us roar, because WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

Jacksonvillage says:
Jul 30, 2013 07:09 AM

Yes, its time we stood up alongside all life forms to which the biosphere is home, and stopped thinking of ourselves, and acting like, good CONSUMERS!

somewhere from Ontario says:
Jul 30, 2013 07:30 PM

i wonder if, in fact, such a bylaw does exist but is seldom, if ever enforced, except when there is a complaint. in this case the question would be who made the complaint?

Anonymous says:
Jul 29, 2013 05:09 PM

Presumably, a picture from the 2010 Kalamzaoo Enbridge pipeline rupture showing devastated wilderness and watershed with dead and dying wildlife would not be offensive.

Marcus Barber says:
Jul 29, 2013 05:14 PM

I have no issue with the sign or the Village. What I would like to hear though, is a justification of the 'offensive' by the those who complained. If they cannot justify it legitimately, they ought to be held to account. If they are taking offense in all honesty, then it's a chance to educate them as to what offensive truly means

C J Bacon says:
Jul 29, 2013 05:17 PM

Welcome to the "land of the free" and "home of the brave." When people and resources are seen as nothing more than commodities to be "brokered" to the highest bidder in a quest to obtain, control, manipulate and maintain POWER, then we need to realize with EYES WIDE OPEN that this is MEANT TO UNDERMINE OUR SO CALLED "DEMOCRACY." From where I sit and all we have witnessed from ALL SIDES OF "GOVERMENT" (especially from the FEDERAL level), Webster's should be submitted to change the spelling of and definition of "DEMOCRACY" to "DEMOCRISY" to demonstrate what it has TRULY been transformed into - DEMOnstrated hypoCRISY. Pay attention to the CHARBONEAU COMMISSION and the FACTS about EXACTLY HOW "BUSINESS" WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE "PUBLIC TRUST" IS CONDUCTED FROM COAST TO COAST TO COAST. Actions speak louder than words and just like this store owner we need to "turn up the volume" and DEMAND the return to TRUE DEMOCRACY and truer EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW. After all, isn't that what the Westminster democratic principle is SUPPOSED to be based on??
Personally I find the conduct and apparent tolerance of this continued "democratic" CHARADE as the MOST OFFENSIVE to any SENSIBILITY. But then this is only my opinion or does anyone else agree??

Elisabeth says:
Jul 29, 2013 05:46 PM

Absolutely right cindi. Well said.

Judy Fazio says:
Jul 29, 2013 05:57 PM

This is the truth, what's offensive is how greedy corporations and governments are ruining the earth and lives upon it.

JPierre says:
Jul 29, 2013 06:00 PM

"IF THEY MAKE HER TAKE IT DOWN..." y'all should be lookin' at having a snap election to get the Enbridge infiltrators out of you council. Brave woman. Bon courage.No Enbridge. No pipelines. No problem.Pristine lakes and white snow. Solidarity.

Jon Greywolf says:
Jul 29, 2013 06:16 PM

When the last tree has ben cut down-when the last river is polluted beyond recall-and when the last fish has been eaten-only then will they begin to understand that MONEY CANNOT BE EATEN!!!

H says:
Jul 29, 2013 06:25 PM

I'm concerned about the trend for people who criticize corporations to be leaned on to shush. I thought we had free speech in Canada? Do we need universal approval to express opinions now? Why have opinions then?

debris54 says:
Jul 29, 2013 06:28 PM

weird Orwellian shadows in the background of this story... since when is expression of opinion not allowed? .. /// .... 2 anonymous people? ... so what? ESPECIALLY in cases like this, anonymous 'complaints' carry NO weight of any kind. Who complained? the pipeline companies?

Tara says:
Jul 29, 2013 06:31 PM

It is unfortunate that anonymous complaints and by-laws can be used to not only abuse individuals and their freedom of speech, but also the democratic process that allowed the complaints process to be used in good faith. However, the town council will now have to make a decision, either publicly support Ms. Nicholas aspirations, or condemn her actions. THAT is when things will get really interesting. I sure do wish that Enbridge and the Harper Conservative's had to officially defend their actions every time 1 one thousandth of the population found their actions offensive or legally dubious.

Kevin says:
Jul 29, 2013 06:47 PM

I don't want to see or hear any more offensive Enbridge ads. Let us complain to the local newspapers and they will have to stop publishing these ads (but wait: aren't these newspapers owned by a Mr. Black, the guy who wants to build an oil refinery 5 km from Lakelse Lake?)

f nordvie says:
Jul 29, 2013 07:04 PM

I grew up in Houston, close to the Morice and Skeena river systems that could both be poisoned by any leak in the proposed pipeline as it passes so close to the rivers. I was up in that country this summer, and loved the sign between Houston and Smithers, too.

Maybe a work-around would be to keep the mural, and separate the words ... surely you don't need a permit for *three* signs, "Pure Water", "Wild Salmon" and "No Enbridge Pipelines." If "No Enbridge Pipelines" is offensive, then one has to ask what mightn't be.

Brian Lord says:
Jul 29, 2013 07:08 PM

If they have to take it down, just put up a 2nd similar one and start the process all over again. Just keep doing it forever.

Jim says:
Jul 29, 2013 07:14 PM

this is a greeat sign, thanks for putting it up! If this is offensive, than the people who find it offensive should crawl under a rock and never come out... because there is way more offensive things in the world than this.. this would be the least offensive thing Ive ever seen. welcome to the new world order, and if people dont rise up the freedoms of expressions will be lost for good. Screw Embridge!

Grace Joubarne says:
Jul 29, 2013 07:15 PM

This is not about a sign. This is about municipal tyranny. Municipalities have jurisdiction over public property, not over private property. But as long as property owners play their head games as tho they were the least bit legitimate and capitulate to municipal claims they have a right to limit what one puts on the side of their building or what one does with their property, then common law starts to inform our policies and laws. She needs to ask them to prove they (a) have a right to interfere with her right to free speech and (b) and in this country, you do not have to prove your innocent...you are innocent until proven guilty. Given that municipalities give themselves all sorts of power, the fact is that she will find that they can find no legislation that gives them any power over private property, unless the property owner agrees to give them that power. This is a fact right across Canada. This lady needs to contact Liz Marshall through the Ontario Landowners Association (Liz is their Executive Director of Research and I can tell you that in 5 minutes she can advise exactly what to ask the municipality to close down their take-over of private property. She has helped to win major cases right across Canada with her incredible research into property rights in Canada... going right back to the British deeding and Crown Patents).

Mark says:
Jul 29, 2013 07:26 PM

What's needed here is a way of making Oil Pipelines so offensive/ expensive Enbridge will be forced to leave it's oil in the ground!

Merlin says:
Jul 29, 2013 07:35 PM

We can hope that council leaves it alone and perhaps outs the 2 losers that complained so we can know who the enemy of BC is in the community.
No one that's ever lived in BC or been to Burns Lake want Enbridge to kill everything. We can bet it wasn't anyone from Burns Lake, unless they are CPC supporters.

Inappropriate comments says:
Jul 29, 2013 07:39 PM

If the people in Burns Lake find this billboard offensive, I'm not sure I trust that comments to Village Council for "inappropriate". I imagined those in appropriate comments to be something along the lines of: "Why should a business owner with a sign have to prove her sign is not offensive? Isn't the burden of proof on the accuser in Canada?"

cheryl says:
Aug 01, 2013 08:18 AM

yes, thats right. she can take it to court, and have the complaintant prove the offence. All by- laws have a clause for dispute. They are not absolute if you disagree with your infraction.

Doug Burt says:
Jul 29, 2013 08:09 PM

Big money busting the little guys balls as usual, what I find offensive is Enbridge, period!

Kathleen says:
Jul 29, 2013 08:15 PM

This sign is on her property! Why can't she post what she wants?
Enbridge surely pays big bucks to post false information on rented space on signs and in other media.

Jlhaslip says:
Jul 29, 2013 08:29 PM

If I am ever in Burns Lake, I will most definitely stop at this store and buy things I do not need.

Jk says:
Jul 29, 2013 08:31 PM

Funny, her sign is getting more exposure than she could have asked for thanks to those two anonymous complaints!

Canadian says:
Jul 29, 2013 08:50 PM

I wrote to them. It's wasn't inappropriate but it did highlight that their infraction notice was unlawful. Canadians have the right to know their accuser, and the burden of proof is on the accuser (not the accused). Win for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Privacy Act!

Amy says:
Jul 29, 2013 08:55 PM

Good for her.

Don Anderson says:
Jul 29, 2013 08:59 PM

What offends me is the lies Enbridge puts out on their ads, losing islands on maps and TV ads showing all kinds of wildlife frolicking around their tankers running up the coast. What crap! Why not show the damaged their oil leaks are doing. Corp. pirates plundering the landscape and the people living in it.

Gups-Y-Bees Waddington says:
Jul 29, 2013 09:30 PM

You put an intentional spin on your BB page. You used cheap and deniable dirty tricks. You have lost my confidence and my support.

D. says:
Jul 29, 2013 09:42 PM

I am offended by the Enbridge tv ad, you know the one with the animated water color, where a puny oil tanker is shown happily sailing in what is depicted as a misleadingly vast channel. The scene pristine, birds fly aloft, the colors are fresh, the text reassuring. I find it offensive because it is misleading. The channel has got to be Douglas channel (the fjiord leading to the intended pipeline terminal in Kitimat) the proportions are deliberately off as the size ratio tankers to the width of the channel is a lot tighter than shown in the ad. This ad is piped in my home via my tv set. I don't have a choice, I have to be exposed to it. This woman in Burns Lake she puts an understated poster on her own property and she gets a citation?!? Is this Canada?!? Why is Dogwood bending ovr backward to keep a tide of protests to overwhelm the town council? How did Burns Lake vote at the BC municipalities meet last Spring re oil pipelines?

Margaret Paul says:
Jul 29, 2013 10:38 PM

Don't forget for a minute that Enbridge has billions of dollars to lose if the pipeline is stopped and their budget which is dedicated to making sure it goes through is massive. They will be doing everything possible to stop the criticism including making complaints about a poster and calling something so mundane as concern for life, offensive. Read The Wrecking Crew. Very little of today's economic and environmental crisis is accidental and if you stand up and fight expect to get dirt thrown at you by the boys after the bucks. Take courage and don't back down.

Kim K says:
Jul 29, 2013 11:08 PM

WOW, unbelievable. Considering the harsh reality of what an oil spill would do to our coast, I find this a very gentle way of one expressing their concern. Maybe that's the problem. Any perception of passivity tends to turn weaklings into bullies, and these bullies thought they found an easy target. If I was Gwyn, I'd replace that sign with one that depicts the devastation of an oil spill, and the one finger salute to Enbridge. Maybe then the milktoast crybabies who are trying to squash her democratic right to express her concerns will have something to complain about...but it wouldn't be the message, it would be the reality of a putrified coast.

Anonymous says:
Jul 29, 2013 11:26 PM

Well done, Gwyndolyn Nicholas! The two that complained have obviously nothing better to do with their time.

Michael Gilfillan says:
Jul 30, 2013 12:06 AM

DI, your apology for the minor mistakes in the story is accepted, with gratitude for the admission of fault; complainants, your diligence in reporting what you found offensive is commendable (if diminished by the anonymity); and last, City of Burns Lake Council, thank you for what will surely be a thoughtful and just decision to dismiss this complaint. All can all "hold your heads high" in the acceptance of responsibility fulfilled. My compliments and thanks to all concerned.

Steven Horn says:
Jul 30, 2013 12:37 AM

I think Ms. Nicholas has the right to face her attacker so the Village should disclose to her who filed the complaint. After all, we do believe in due process ...

Shelagh says:
Jul 30, 2013 04:43 AM

We should all write the CRTC and tell them we find the Enbridge ads offensive. What are they thinking? This makes me very sad that there will not be a sustainable planet for future generations to come. We need to stand up and and tell Big business and government F*#* you we are not goin to take it anymore.

carol says:
Jul 30, 2013 05:10 AM

I wonder - If she is forced to remove the sign, could individuals put the same, or similar on their own private property? Could this lead to similar signs sprouting up all over Burns Lake? Hmmm? Might have the opposite effect desired by those who complained.

Kate says:
Jul 30, 2013 05:21 AM

What would be offensive is if the Enbridge pipeline goes in. He sign is aesthetically pleasing with a good message. Those who don't like it are obvioulsy more interested in other things besides saving this community from harm.

RoseMary Peddie says:
Jul 30, 2013 06:31 AM

I do not find the sign offensive in any way. It is beautiful, and the message is pertinent and timely. It is only 'political' if one chooses to make it so. I hope she does not have to take the sign down. And if the Village makes changes to bylaws that affect what businesses may or may not do, it would be preferable for the Village to communicate that to all businesses.

Wayne says:
Jul 30, 2013 06:58 AM

Thank you It is heartening to see people taking a stand. Hopefully, it is not to late to make a difference. However, it is more important to stand up for truth and justice than be concerned about the difference it may make.

Ev says:
Jul 30, 2013 07:04 AM

I see this as another case of corporate bullying. The big guy towers over the little one, demanding whatever the little one values most. Truth, ethics, or fairness do not come into play. Simply "Might" wielding power to control. Collectively, when we stand with Gwyn's Greengrocer, we are standing up for democratic rights and against bullying of this nature.

Jacksonvillage says:
Jul 30, 2013 07:05 AM

Yes, it is our world, and time we stopped thinking of ourselves as "CONSUMERS" as we have been so well programmed to behave.

Miki says:
Jul 30, 2013 07:23 AM

It is amazing to me that two people can complain and activate such a fury. There is no offence to loving this country. Maybe Council should check a dictionary for offensive..... may they be informed in their decision making process.

John says:
Jul 30, 2013 08:11 AM

I would love to be a fly on the wall in the town council meeting that discusses this matter. Odd approach in a democratic structure, Gwyndolyn is presumed guilty and now must prove her innocence? She has accomplished what town council failed to do, she spoke up on behalf of her community. I applaud her.

Anonymous says:
Jul 30, 2013 08:38 AM

It is quite amazing how we can be hypnotized into believing that the very land we depend upon to live has been deemed worthless unless we find a way to destroy it for profit. Then we have nothing and those who made the profit take the money and go do the same thing somewhere else. And then our children look at us in utter betrayal, because by saying what we depend upon to survive is worthless unless some exterior body gives it worth, and that worth is only valid as long as the 'value' remains, is basically saying the same thing to them. When really our children have the same rights as we do to drink healthy water, eat healthy salmon, and have a relationship with the land that gives them life. By buying into the pipeline, a person is essentially saying, "I don't care about children, I don't care about the world, all I care about is staving off the fear of my worthlessness." We need to work on solutions to oil and coal now or our children will, as Chief Oren Lyons puts it "suffer beyond all comprehension". Is this outcome worth more than facing our fear of change?

Richard Fahlman says:
Jul 30, 2013 08:46 AM

It is essential to be able to know the names of the complainants and not have anonymous complaints overrule the right to publicly display our opinions. Are they simply individuals who may benefit from education or are they Enbridge trolls?

Marilyn Glasgow says:
Jul 30, 2013 08:47 AM

People who are so small-minded that they would complain about this sign being "offensive" are probably connected to Enbridge in some way. Otherwise they should be ashamed of themselves, and get a life. Way to go Ms.Nicholas. These oil companies are nothing but greedy ravagers of our earth.

Colleen says:
Jul 30, 2013 08:47 AM

I think Ms. Nicolas has the right to keep the sign up. It is her store, and she is entitled to her opinion on the matter. People are allowed, by the same right, to also not like the sign if they support the project. It will be interesting when the pipeline is built if Ms. Nicolas will change her tune and take the sign down. When 3,000 construction workers are passing through and needing coffee, I bet it will read "Welcome Gateway Workers". Be careful not to bite the hand that could be feeding your business for a number of years. Just an opinion.

Samm Port says:
Jul 30, 2013 09:01 AM

It saddens and yes, scares me, how much power the corporations have. If the Village council bows down to two complainants it would just be another nail in the coffin of our beautiful and sacred environment.

Janet Greenhalgh says:
Jul 30, 2013 09:04 AM

Stand your ground!

jane doe says:
Jul 30, 2013 09:26 AM

Excellent billboard. Good for Gwyndolyn! We should put them up ALL over Vancouver Island.

Frank McElroy says:
Jul 30, 2013 10:19 AM

Supposedly there is a right to free speech in Canada. Charter of Rights and Freedoms. No by-law can abridge them. Look around, see the unending, ubiquitous statements of promoters of oil, coal and gas which flood media every part of every day. Many believe the messages to be fraudulent, false, misleading. Yet there is no cry to stop corporate speech in those instances. That's the true beauty of real free speech, from the person standing on the soap box in the square, appealing to anyone who will listen, to the largest international corporation using all of its muscle on the electronic soap box. We, as intelligent beings, can ignore them. Any effort to pick and choose which speech is okay offends the notion of free speech. There is nothing more fundamental to democracy, freedom, than being able to speak your mind.

It would be a shame if Burns Lake makes the mistake of beating up this woman for speaking her mind, because someone doesn't like the message. It doesn't matter what the message is, if you believe in the concept of free speech. I urge anyone interested in this fundamental subject to study protection of free speech in the US, guaranteed under the First Amendment to the US Constitution. My favorite example was an attempt to force removal of political posters in a elite mid-western town which augured for the election of someone who was not of the same part and persuasion of most of the town. The sign by-law, never used previously, was activated for the obvious purpose. The state supreme court, recognizing the right of free speech, crushed the opponents of same and ordered payment of more than $1,000,000 in legal fees and damages against the town.

Smarter heads and reason always prevail, even if only eventually. Speaking in favor of fresh water, wild salmon could not possibly be offensive to anyone. Stating a dislike for the proposed Enbridge Pipeline is something that millions of Canadians and Americans do every day. Whomever you are, stop picking on Ms. Nicholas simply because she has the guts to paste her thoughts on a sign. You should, instead, applaud her exercise of free speech, even if you don't like it.

Hank says:
Jul 30, 2013 10:45 AM

Excellent billboard sign & article. Keep up the battle for clean water, air & soil. There is an excellent commercial marine industry site - GCAPTAIN.COM. Written by pro-fessional commercial mariners. Tracks marine industry trade, ship incidents, oil spills, exploration activity etc. Tankers do run aground, container ships catch fire, ore ships sinks etc. Enter MV Stena Hudson River grounding - very informative. The USA is sending raw "Dakota" crude oil to the Irving Refinery in New Brunswick. Natural gas prices are going down worldwide affecting tanker rates etc. Info that is
not on mainstream media.

Amy says:
Jul 30, 2013 10:49 AM

Last time I checked, freedom of speech or expression was not considered "offensive" in Canada, however, Stephen Harper's government is working hard to make it so.

Don says:
Jul 30, 2013 11:02 AM

Has anyone "complained" to the media about Embridge's "offensive ads"?

Donna Martin says:
Jul 30, 2013 11:03 AM

So now it appears we not permitted to express our opinions about the damage and potential devastation of the most beautiful remaining wilderness in the world. It is mind boggling that big oil can spend millions window dressing and spinning it's own versions of the fantasical


pipeline that will move mountains, rivers and islands, without any impact.
I am so grateful for every action that values and protects our beautiful province such as this great billboard.

Wendy G says:
Jul 30, 2013 12:00 PM

Lets all use glass paint to put this slogan on our car windows in solidarity and support of Gwyn. I know we can't have the lovely landscape behind it, but our wild salmon need our voice now! It is almost too late from the viruses and pollution of the fish farms. All these issues of environmental distruction are desperate. Monsanto, Enbridge, Kinder Morgan and the Ocean pen fish farms have to be stopped.

Jules says:
Jul 30, 2013 01:48 PM

The only thing offensive are those oil billionaires and harper thinking our land and water is less important than the money they'll make shipping our resources to china.

And to hell with the environment. They'll all be dead before the consequences of their actions are felt and right now all they want is the rich life and care less how they get it.

Heather Martin-McNab says:
Jul 30, 2013 02:12 PM

This billboard can only be offensive to someone with a vested interest in the pipeline that puts their wallet ahead of the environment.

louise says:
Jul 30, 2013 02:56 PM

Not offensive at all. What is offensive is the erroneous
Harper Government's Action Plan adds (which are paid for by Canadian Taxpayers)!

ann says:
Jul 30, 2013 05:57 PM

I thought we had freedom of speech in this country, I guess we were all brought up wrong after all. This is not democratic society we live in when you can't speak your own words on your own building or land, others are a loud why aren't we. THE SIGN SHOULD STAY.

Onni Milne says:
Jul 31, 2013 09:55 AM

What an interesting read to look through the comments for this issue. Thank you, Gwyn, for taking action as you have done. This is in line with the 4,000 commentors before the JRP as they review the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. Shame on you, Burns Lake Council, for your obvious bullying tactics. I agree that this happened because Enbridge is in the background with their dirty money.

John says:
Jul 31, 2013 10:18 AM

I fail to see how an anonymous objection to a sign can be recognized by the Burns Lake Council. Interesting too that, if it came to a legal challenge, Enbridge could write off their legal costs to operating expenses while all the NGOs who agree with the sentiment of the sign only have recourse to donations to cover costs. Level playing field!?

Timo says:
Aug 01, 2013 09:08 AM

She should sell copies of the billboard on t-shirts. I'd buy one. I think it's great that someone complained -- it gives a lot more exposure to the cause/issue.

Sharon J says:
Aug 03, 2013 01:28 PM

If the word "offensive" is not defined in the bylaw as an opinion with which you do not agree, the Village does not have a case. If the bylaw says that the sign is too big, and it is, then they do have a case. At that point she can post a smaller sign of the same thing.

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